Najwa Aaraj, Ph.D.

Team: Strategic Advisory Group


As a member of the Strategic Advisory Group, Najwa Aaraj helps Paladin to assess investments in cybersecurity, cryptographic and quantum technologies. Najwa also supports Paladin’s portfolio companies in realizing their growth plans through research and development (R&D).

Najwa is Chief Researcher, Cryptography Research Center and Acting Chief Researcher, Autonomous and Robotics Research Center, for the UAE’s Technology Innovation Institute (TII).

The Cryptography Research Center focuses on R&D in: post quantum cryptography; lightweight cryptography (for the Internet of Things and cyber physical systems); cryptography for the Cloud (privacy preserving technologies based on secure multi-party computation, fully-homomorphic encryption, verifiable computation and other advanced cryptographic constructions); cryptographic protocols; cryptography engineering and hardware/software co-design; machine learning applicability to cryptanalysis; and neuromorphic computing and spiking neural networks.

The Autonomous and Robotics Research Center works on cryptographic primitives and protocols for autonomous systems in air (drones) land and water; platforms, hardware and sensor fusion; real-time operating systems; perception and communication algorithms; control and decision-making algorithms; swarm architectures; low-power platforms and bio-inspired, evolutionary, and self-organized methodologies.

Najwa was previously Lead Senior Associate with consultancy Booz & Company in the USA and UAE, working on projects in the technology industry across Australia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. At  IBM Research she designed techniques to monitor software integrity and designed architectures for cryptographic operations on embedded systems.

Najwa has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, with Highest Honors, from Princeton University. She has published multiple pieces of academic research and has been awarded four patents in data protection, cybersecurity and machine learning.

Najwa speaks four languages (Arabic, English, French and Greek) and frequently gives keynote presentations at industry conferences.